A former Virginia State Police special agent accused of having inappropriate relationships with a number of women who were confidential informants will serve two years in federal prison.

A judge in U.S. District Court in Abingdon on Friday ordered Shade Workman, 46, of Bluefield, Virginia, to serve 24 months on federal bribery, obstruction of justice and making a false statement to the FBI. He was convicted on those charges in March by a jury, which acquitted Workman on a second obstruction of justice charge and a charge of using a telephone to commit a federal crime.

Zach Lee, criminal chief for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said Workman admitted on the witness stand that he had an inappropriate relationship with a confidential informant.

Prosecutors also said that whenever one of the informants started to waver about having sex with him, Workman responded that it would “suck to go to jail and lose your children.”

During the trial, Thomas Cullen, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia, told the jury about text messages between Workman and an informant that told her to delete all the text messages and destroy her phone.

“Based on evidence, the defendant can be accurately described as a predator with a badge,” Cullen said during closing arguments.

Workman served as commander of the Tazewell County High Intensity Drug Task Force, a specialized multi-agency drug enforcement unit partially funded through the National Office of Drug Control Policy. Authorities said he unlawfully solicited and received sexual favors from female confidential informants in exchange for agreeing to assist them with pending criminal charges.

“The evidence further showed that when these female confidential informants expressed their reluctance about having sex with him, Workman regularly threatened and implied that they would face lengthy prison terms and extended separation from their children,” authorities said in a previous news release.

When the FBI then interviewed Workman during the summer of 2018, he falsely denied having inappropriate or sexual relationships with the confidential informants, prosecutors said.

Although Workman had deleted text messages evidencing inappropriate sexual relationships with informants from his Virginia State Police-issued phone, and directed multiple informants do the same, the FBI recovered a number of text messages, which the government presented at trial.

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rsorrell@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2531 | Twitter: @RSorrellBHC | Facebook.com/robertsorrelltn

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